The best-paying career that has no entry requirements!
If you’re feeling down on your luck with regard to your job search, I’ve got some great news for you!
Health care support occupations are projected to be among the fastest-growing through 2025.
This is creating a HUGE demand for healthcare assistants and caregivers. We are talking to hundreds of care and nursing homes every week who are really going crazy! And I'm not exagerrating... You can hear the desperation in their voice…No kidding...
This is becoming a jewel of a career in the UK and Germany that not many people are aware of:
HUGE DEMAND also means pretty interesting salary levels.
How about GBP 1,600 or about EUR 2,200 per month as an average salary? This is not including overtime and bonuses...
Now, the best part is that there are no set entry requirements!
Employers expect good literacy and numeracy and sometimes may ask for a certification in English.
A big plus would be a healthcare qualification, such as BTEC or NVQ but this is by no means a requirement (especially these days with the market in dire straits).
There are some employers who may ask that you have some even limited experience of healthcare or care work. This could be from either paid or voluntary and apprenticeship work.
With all of the above said, I do not mean to say that actually being a caregiver is not challenging.
You will certainly need a nice smile, a caring & positive attitude and a good deal of patience. You’ll need to be cheerful and friendly, even under stressful situations and of course willing to be hands-on with patients. In short, this career will suit you if you consider yourself to have a certain amount of self-control and good communication as well as listening skills.
So, what does a healthcare assistant do?
Healthcare assistants help with the day-to-day care of patients, either in nursing homes or in patients’ own homes.
As a healthcare assistant you would work under the supervision of nursing staff. Your duties could include:
helping patients to wash, shower or dress
serving food or helping people eat
making and changing beds
turning patients who are confined to bed to avoid pressure sores
talking to patients to help them feel less anxious
helping patients to move around if they find it difficult
giving out and collecting bedpans
making sure the ward or patients’ homes are tidy
keeping supplies and equipment in order
taking and recording observations such as temperature, pulse and breathing
Your day-to-day work may include using mobility aids and equipment to help lift and move patients. In hospitals you may also escort patients between departments.
With experience, you may be involved in induction training for new healthcare assistants.
You would usually work around 37 hours a week on a shift or rota system, including nights, bank holidays and weekends. Flexible and part-time hours are often available.
You could work in patients’ homes, nursing homes, the community or even in a hospital setting.
If you work in the community, you are likely to travel throughout the day between patients’ homes. A driving licence may be needed for some jobs.
We talked to Lydia, a care assistant with over 20 years of experience, to give you some further detailed insight into the life of a caregiver:
Describe a typical day for us.
I work in Unit 1 of the hospital. On a typical day working in the unit we have a Clinical Nurse Manager 1, four staff nurses and either three or four Care Assistants, one Household Assistant and one Catering Assistant and we have thirty six clients.
Work starts at 7.45am with the morning report, at 7.55am we assist clients who need help to sit up for breakfast and then we assist them to eat their breakfast. At about 8.45am we collect the dirty dishes and leave them on a table for the catering staff to collect. We then proceed to assist clients with their their washing and dressing needs, making beds and ensuring that clients are warm and comfortable for the day. Some clients go for physio and some are brought up to the hairdressers to get their hair done and some go up to the Activities Nurse to do activities.
At 11.30am the clients get their soup, milk or tea whichever they prefer, we assist any client who needs help with their soup. At 12pm the clients get their dinner, again we assist anyone who needs help. At about 12.30pm we assist clients who wish to go back to bed.
In the afternoon we continue to assist clients back to bed, or give care to clients who are in bed.
If time permits we might bring clients for a walk around the hospital or if it was a good day out into the hospital grounds or garden.
We try and take time to read or write letters for clients who wish us to do this or to sit and talk to clients who are upset or just feeing lonely. At 4.15pm we start getting clients ready for their tea at 4.30pm. Some of the staff go home at 5pm and that leaves two staff nurses and two health care assistants on duty until 8pm.
During the evening we assist clients back to bed, give care assistance to clients who are in bed, put on televisions for clients in their wards. At 7.30pm we give extra supplements to clients who need extra nourishment and who can't take them themselves. At 8pm the night staff come on duty and we go home.
What are the main challenges?
The main challenges are the changes that are taking place within the Health Service, everyone has to be more accountable for the decisions they make while they are working in a hospital environment. All grades of staff have to be aware of all the work policies and the correct procedures to be followed while at work.
Policies are changing all the time so you need to keep updated on them. This means taking time to read and understand them and the affect they have on your role at work.
What's cool about being a CA?
Cool is not a word I would really use in relation to my work, but what I like about my job is working within a team, having a say in how my work is done. I like to care for people and make a positive difference to their lives. Most of our clients are long stay residents and you get to know them and their relatives very well you really get to be part of the inner circle.
What's not so cool about being a CA?
The things that are not cool but are necessary aspects of the job are dealing with bed pans, commodes, cleaning up after clients .
Finally, being a care assistant also can have a significant upside in terms of salary and career path:
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